5 ways to protect your skin during a long-haul flight

Don’t let dry and dehydrated skin ruin your European getaway

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / July 04 2018

Whether you’re planning on ditching the cold southern hemisphere winter to lounge beachside in Mykonos or walk the cobblestone streets of Florence, if there’s a long-haul flight on your horizon, you need to be vigilant about your in-air beauty routine.

As any seasoned traveller knows, flying can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it dry, dehydrated, puffy and dull. That’s why we reached out to Global Education Ambassador for Ultraceuticals, Tracey Beeby, for her top tips for protecting your skin during a long-haul flight.


Avoid makeup

While makeup isn’t necessarily bad for your skin, having a break from it certainly doesn’t hurt, especially when flying. Your skin is more at risk of dehydration within a cabin environment, which when pared with occlusive makeup (such as heavy foundations) has the potential to create the perfect storm for acne and breakouts. Beeby notes, “if you do wear makeup to board your flight, ensure you choose quality makeup and formulas that are right for your skin type and opt for mineral makeup that won’t clog your pores”.


Don’t skip SPF

Just because you’re 40,000 feet in the air, doesn’t mean you can get away with not applying SPF. In fact, sunscreen application is actually more important when flying, as UV rays are much stronger because you’re closer to the sun. To avoid any sun damage during a flight, Beeby recommends applying “a good protective daily moisturiser with an SPF of 50+ before your flight that will last up to 24 hours as a safe measure.

Try: Ultraceuticals Sunactive SPF 50+ Face Cream

Ultraceuticals Sunactive SPF 50+ Face Cream


Apply an antioxidant serum

Recycled cabin air has very little oxygen, which dehydrates, depletes and devitalises our skin. That’s why applying an antioxidant serum (after thoroughly cleansing, of course) that protects skin from any free radical damage is essential.

Try: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum or Clinique Fresh Pressed Serum + Activator

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum


Don’t forget to hydrate

“The first thing that will effect your skin when flying is the lack of humidity in the air. Because the air is incredibly dry, it will rapidly start to dehydrate your skin,” explains Beeby. In order to avoid the dry and dehydrated skin that’s synonymous with air travel, she suggests, “upgrading your moisturiser to a slightly richer cream, as well as a good hydrating serum.” It’s also a good idea to regularly spritz a balancing mist. “Not only will it make your skin feel revived, but it will leave your skin feeling refreshed from the dry irritating air,” adds Beeby. 

Try: Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum and Caudalie Beauty Elixir


Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
TOP TIP: Facial oils are a great way to intensely nourish skin while in the air. Apply three to four drops in the palms of your hands and press into your skin during your flight.


Avoid alcohol and salty foods

As tempting as a mid-flight Champagne or pre-bed glass of red might be, it’s best to stick to herbal tea or plain water, as drinking alcohol on a flight will only dehydrate your skin further. Additionally, Beeby adds that it’s important to avoid plane food where possible because the high salt concentration causes our bodies to retain more fluid, making us look bloated and puffy.

Now you’ve got your in-flight skin care routine sorted, make sure to discover five ways to look your best after your plane lands.

What does your in-flight skin care routine look like? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @stephclairesmith

Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.